Why is the Nikon D5200 autofocus speed so slow.

And why is it even slower in Live mode?

I tested two different D5200 and both had a slow and laggy focus, even with stock lens.

They are very slower and more incorrect that my Lumix FZ38..


I tested this camera with Nikon 55-200mm lens too. The problem still exists.

How can I find out that which lens has a fast focus speed?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Focus speeds depend on both the camera and the lens. You say stock lens so I assume a kit lens. Kit Lenses are known for being of let's say...questionable quality. They work, but are just meant to give you something so you can start shooting right away. \$\endgroup\$
    – SailorCire
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 15:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your answer and your edit :) I extended the question \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 16:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, thank you; however, there are much better users who will give you an answer and in more detail. That's why I just left mine thoughts as a comment. \$\endgroup\$
    – SailorCire
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 16:12

1 Answer 1


AF is slower in LiveView because it is using a different focusing method (contrast detection) than when you are composing in the viewfinder (phase detection). Phase detection is faster.

Why it is "slow" (using PhaseDetection) could be one of many things:

  1. AF Area mode: closest-subject focusing takes longer for the camera to figure out than single point.
  2. Amount of available light: low light levels also hurt AF performance
  3. Sharpness of the subject: photos of low-contrast subjects are difficult to focus on quickly.
  4. Maximum aperture of the lens: lenses with a small max aperture (high F number) allow less light in (see #2).
  • \$\begingroup\$ I didn't know that DSLRs have both CDAF and PDAF. Good to know. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 22:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then, how can I enable phase detection for LiveView? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 4:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can't, @rostamiani. phase detetion is done by a dedicated piece of hardware and requires the mirror to be down so light can be reflected on to it. when using LiveView the mirror is up and the shutter is open so you only get contrast detection via the camera's sensor. \$\endgroup\$
    – Frosty
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 13:27

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